Victoria Falls is arguably the most beautiful place on the planet. It is impossible to take a dull photograph in a town that overflows with natural beauty- whether it is the cheeky face a vervet monkey (the unintentional photo-bombers), the wash of undiluted sunlight that illuminates every picture, or simply the brilliant blue sky that frames your silhouette, each snap of your camera captures a picture-perfect moment. But the wonder of photographs is not derived from the length of your lens, the angle of the frame or the number of pixels in the shot. The real magic behind photographs lies in their ability to act as a mini time-machine, that momentarily transports you back to a moment when the wind caressed your face, leaves crunched underfoot, water lapped against the side of your boat or adrenaline sent shivers down your spine and shot fire through your veins. There is no shortage of picturesque postcards in Victoria Falls, ideal for writing home and giving your loved ones a glimpse of what you are experiencing. It is wonderful to think that although the same postcard picture may be sent to one hundred different people in one hundred different places, the stories written on the back will never be the same.
Top Three Picture Perfect Moments:
The Batoka gorge
The black basalt rock stretches skywards, with exquisite sprays of green spilt down its sides as trees and shrubs burst from between the cracks. Between the lips of the gorge rages the Zambezi river, the hum of its tremulous water echoing along its path at curling up the 100-meter rock face. There are a variety of ways to experience this beautiful spectacle, each of lovely as the last. Calmly, from the Lookout Café’s perch on the edge of the gorge, or from behind the steel railing of the bridge that hangs in its chasm and connects two countries. Trumpeter Hornbills, Schalow’s Turaco, Peregrine Falcons, and if you are extremely lucky, the rare Taita Falcon all dip and dive through the flora that sprouts from the rock, writing messages across the sky with the tips of their wings. Pockets of excitement burst within the depths of the gorge every day, on the rafts that plummet through the rapids of the Zambezi, or at the base of the Victoria Falls waterfall where swimmers and hikers frolic. The Batoka Gorge beckons, entices and captivates visitors, no matter which way you choose to explore it.
In the rainforest
The Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and is such an awe-inspiring spectacle that when David Livingstone first discovered it, he said that it was so lovely it must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. When you are first swallowed whole by the rainforest, you will understand what he meant. The tree branches are laden with such thick bunchesof leaves that they droop and brush those walking along the cobbled paths. The force of the water hitting the rocks below sends it soaring back up the gorge, creating a curtain of mist that envelopes the whole forest. The water droplets capture the sun’s rays, causing rainbows to erupt over the waterfall, arcing from Zimbabwe into Zambia. The only sounds are the roaring water as it plunges over the gorge, interrupted by the occasional bird call or shriek from people standing close to the edge when a gust of vapour comes surging up from below. Deer, birds, monkeys, and butterflies all live within this magical place, and often emerge from the woodland to greet their guests as they soak up this magnificent home.
The Zambezi River is as enchanting as it is diverse, morphing from gentle ripples to raging rapids into a cascading waterfall. It runs through some of the most unscathed national parks in Africa, and carries stories and mementos carried by its current. There isn’t a more tranquil and serene place in the world from which to watch the sun kiss the sky goodnight. Before the ray’s drip behind the horizon for the night, they seem to slide beneath the surface of the water, so that for a moment the world is bathed in a golden glow. Elephants graze their trunks through the water, hippo grunt their farewells, and birds retreat into the trees for the night. These are the moments that stay with you, and urge you to return.
We are drawn to places by other people’s postcards and pictures. For months before our visit, we will pour over the images, lapping up every detail every detail. And then, when we return home, we replace these with our own pictures, regardless of whether the quality is slightly worse or the lighting is a bit off- because these pictures will show the little bits of ourselves that we left in the breath-taking waterfall, rolling savanna and glistening river. We know them individually and personally, and, like a dear friend that occupies another patch of earth, it is only a matter of time before we visit them again. Victoria Falls may be one of the few places on the planet that is more beautiful that what can be conveyed in a photograph.